SECO Warns of Winter Scams

Posted on: January 16, 2014

SECO officials are warning all electric customers to be wary of a variety of consumer scams being run in Central Florida this winter.

SECO Director of Corporate Communications Barry Bowman said, “Right now there are a number of scams being foisted upon the public by unscrupulous individuals whose sole purpose is to separate people from their hard-earned money. These scammers like to prey on our older population, in particular, which makes their actions even more reprehensible.”

Bowman stated that some of SECO’s customers have received calls from people who claim to be from some company which they say is associated with SECO. They say they'll be in the area and offer to stop by and show homeowners how to save on their energy bill. They also try to get through the door by saying they are part of some federal incentive program.

“Ultimately, they want to sell you something you probably don’t need. It’s important for people to know that SECO has no third party vendors and the co-op offers its own free in-home energy assessments to its customers,” said Bowman. “If our member/customers have any question about a suspicious call they should contact SECO directly for advice.”

Another scam being run in the area involves an automated call, supposedly from SECO, telling people that their bill is overdue and demanding they make an immediate payment with a money card or the electric service will be disconnected. If people fall for this scam their money simply disappears. 

A third scam involves text messaging. People may receive a text message that says, in effect, “Your electric service account has been hacked. Text back ‘send now’ to reactivate your account.”

Bowman stressed that the mere function of texting back ‘send now’ can completely compromise personal identification information. He said people should simply delete such texts without responding.

“Utilities and other companies all across Florida and throughout the Southeast are seeing these same scams play out. We want our customers and others to be aware of these devious practices. Anyone representing themselves as being associated with a utility should be closely scrutinized and their credentials checked out thoroughly before you give them any information or admit them to your home. SECO sends current scam alerts out on its Facebook page and our energy services group has a new community presentation on scams of all types that we’d be happy to show any group free of charge,” concluded Bowman.

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